By Team Backbeat
By Amber Taufen
By Jon Solomon
By Tom Murphy
By Jesse Livingston
By Alejandra Loera
By Stephanie March
By Tom Murphy
"Yeah, well, this guy I know says you stole $100 from him. Asked if I knew you. Said he was going to kill you. I told him good luck."
Franky smiled and shrugged.
"DCK!" he yelled.
"DCK!" the smokers yelled back.
Inside, the audience was chanting "DCK! DCK!" as Jamal walked through the aisles, a flashlight in one hand, tapping people on the shoulder with the other: "You can't sit here right now. You've got to move."
DCK attracted the biggest crowd of the night, and the fans chanted the musicians' lyrics right back at Franky and Rob and Vince. "Still on the street," they rapped. "Still selling drugs."
Rob and Vince now live at their grandparents' house in Centennial. Their grandparents are supportive of what the boys are trying to do with their music, despite its content, and pass out Denver City Killaz products. "We're like ghetto-ass punks, ghetto-ass white kids," Rob says. "Just because we live where we live right now doesn't mean we haven't seen some shit in our lives before. Like right now, I got a case pending, I might do a year or two years in jail.... It's felony menacing, unlawful discharge of a firearm. The shit that we rap about, it's true. It's what's going on."
"I think that's why people dig it so much," Vince says. "It's from the heart. We're not putting on a front or putting on a show. We do try to do it to the best of our abilities when we're performing, but sometimes we're a little too drunk or have taken a bit too many painkillers that night. But they love it either way, man. It's a good feeling to know that people like our shit."
"It definitely keeps us out of trouble, too," Vince says. "For the most part."
"We're not like gang members," Rob says. "I mean, we used to do some dumb shit back in the day, and then the music came and we're like, no more."
But while Franky likes to say that he's given up the "gang shit" for a more "positive direction" — and his adult record is clean — he still deals drugs. He tried to quit after his son was born six months ago, even got a full-time job, but he couldn't pay the bills on $10 an hour and soon was back to dealing on the side.
Then he gave up the job so that he wouldn't miss out on big deals during the work week. "I do handle most of the dirty business," he says. "I'm not afraid to admit it, either. This is America. Do you really expect me to pay bills off a minimum-wage job? You're living in a fucking fairy tale. I got kids. Fuck that. I need fucking money.
"We weren't given that great a start and a whole lot of opportunity, but we know what we know, and we're doing quite well for a bunch of kids with seventh-grade educations," he continues. "I want to take the people that I feel deserve something better and I want to fucking put them there. I'm trying to make something better. I'm going to do it either way, whether it's legitimate or illegitimate."
Kiki thinks that attitude is pretty emblematic of fans in the scene, especially the SK kids who look up to DCK. "They all want to be legit," he says. "They want to do something, make their life better. But it's easy money compared to working every day. They'll call us up, be all proud, 'Hey, Primos, I got a job.' A week later, 'That's too much work. They wanted me to work like eight hours, dude. They wouldn't even let me smoke weed.'
"We try to give them somebody to look up to, like you can be who you are and still run a legitimate business. Take all your energy you put into selling weed or selling dope or whatever, and do the same thing with selling your music, selling your T-shirts."
As funny as it seems to them, the Primos partners have become role models. With the store and the barbecues and the shows, they're giving the juggalos something to do, something to keep them out of trouble. The partners are a popular choice for shadowing on career days, and they give out free Faygo for good report cards, as well as for birthdays and for getting out of jail.
"I like to help these kids, keep them from making some of the mistakes I made when I was a kid," Flava says. "I sleep better at night knowing I'm trying to help them, because they look up to us. When we do deliveries, I can be stocking coolers and a juggalo will just come up and hug me from behind, tell me thanks for everything we do. Joining the gang was a waste of time. I found the respect and love and camaraderie...there's no words to describe how the juggalos make you feel when they just run up on you while you're working and tell you how great you are."
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